clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

USA vs Colombia: no one is happy with their federation

The day before the United States faces Colombia, both teams have grievances with their feds.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Generally a match preview is supposed to give fans a glimpse into what to expect and what to get excited for, but there's way too much other context going on around these two teams to stick strictly to the game.

The WNT just asked the EEOC to open an investigation into US Soccer over discriminatory wage practice.

Meanwhile, the Colombian WNT isn't just mad at their fed about wage practice, they're mad about no wages period.

So there's a lot of stuff to consider beyond just two teams meeting again after playing each other in the World Cup last summer. (The United States won that one, by the way, knocking Colombia out of the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win with goals from Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd.)

The WNT is still somewhat in flux, having just emerged from the She Believes tournament with narrow wins over England, France, and Germany. Colombia is no Germany - the only team from She Believes who managed to score on the US - but they're not exactly a pushover either. They've got a lot of tricky talent in their squad, not least of whom is the above mentioned Yoreli Rincon.

Meanwhile Jill Ellis seems to still be experimenting ahead of the Olympics. She has the bulk of the roster she took to She Believes, only changing out defender Lauren Barnes (who didn't see any playing time) for midfielder Allie Long and 17-year-old forward Ashley Sanchez.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues)

Questions ahead of the game include whether Ellis will continue to pair Lindsey Horan in deep mid with Morgan Brian, if she'll keep letting Carli Lloyd roam high behind Alex Morgan, and if she'll continue to give Mallory Pugh valuable minutes, which in turn impacts how Ellis uses Crystal Dunn and Christen Press. How Ellis answers these questions may hint at her plans for that final 18-player Olympic roster, which she'll fine tune in the just-announced June friendlies against Japan. If Ellis is still intent on making it work with Horan pushed deep, then we'll probably be looking at that 4-2-3-1 with Morgan at the tip of the spear, Lloyd riding behind her, and players like Heath and Pugh tasked with giving wide support and overlapping with the fullbacks.

Any playing time for Whitney Engen or Emily Sonnett could show Ellis' preference for her third CB after Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston. Heather O'Reilly staying on the bench could be further evidence of her slow fade from the national team. Samantha Mewis could capitalize on the slight foothold she has in the midfield. Allie Long could surprise everyone and actually make a case for herself beyond just being evaluated by Ellis after a years-long absence from the national team.

Players have been in preseason with their NWSL clubs, so fitness shouldn't be an issue. What will matter will be the WNT's ability to maintain possession and finish in front of goal. Alex Morgan seems to slowly be coming back into Alex Morgan form, but her interplay with Lloyd and whoever Ellis tasks with service from wide needs to smooth out a little more to be consistently threatening.

This would also be a good time for someone not Hope Solo to get a cap in goal. Alyssa Naeher is the local player, but honestly seeing Ashlyn Harris in goal instead would be just fine too. There's no reason other than pride for Solo to start this game when either Naeher or Harris will be #2 in Rio this summer and they have just 13 caps between them. Knock on wood, Solo will be fine all the way through the Olympics, but "cross your fingers that Hope Solo stays healthy for every game" is not an actual plan, nor is it conducive to player development.

The United States plays their first game against Colombia on April 6 in East Hartford, Connecticut, at 7 PM ET. The game will broadcast live on FS1.